The former inspector general of police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura and his immediate family members will henceforth not be issued with a United States visa and will have their properties which he fully owns, or partly owns with others in the USA or in the control of US persons blocked over corruption, human rights abuses, bribery among others.
According to a statement released today by the US Department of Treasury, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is accused of having been a leader or official of a police force that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse against Ugandan citizens, as well as for his involvement in corruption.
"We are targeting Uganda’s former police inspector general Kale Kayihura for using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
"The U.S. government is committed to leveraging our human rights and corruption authorities to target, disrupt, and counter those who engage in abuse and corruption around the world."
The statement further reads that as a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Kayihura, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 per cent or more by him alone or with other designated persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.
OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Kayihura who was Uganda's longest-serving police boss for 12 years was sacked in March 2018 and replaced by his deputy Martins Okoth Ochola. US authorities say Kayihura was designated for being the leader of a police force that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse and being a current or former government official who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption.
"As the IGP for the UPF [Uganda Police Force], Kayihura led individuals from the UPF's Flying Squad Unit, which has engaged in the inhumane treatment of detainees at the Nalufenya Special Investigations Center (NSIC). Flying Squad Unit members reportedly used sticks and rifle butts to abuse NSIC detainees, and officers at NSIC are accused of having beaten one of the detainees with blunt instruments to the point that he lost consciousness. Detainees also reported that after being subjected to the abuse they were offered significant sums of money if they confessed to their involvement in a crime."
"In addition, Kayihura has engaged in numerous acts of corruption, including using bribery to strengthen his political position within the Government of Uganda, stealing funds intended for official Ugandan government business, and using another government employee to smuggle illicit goods, including drugs, gold, and wildlife, out of Uganda."
The US says human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; undermine economic markets.
Kayihura could not immediately be reached for a comment.